Newly released video shows 41-year-old Harold Easter dying at the hands of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, NC. The video was released on October 1. Easter was arrested on January 23 after swallowing cocaine. Officers failed to watch him and he died.
Now the following officers have been recommended for termination, but they resigned before they could be fired: Sgt. Nicolas Vincent, Officer Brentley Vinson, Officer Michael Benfield, Officer Michael Joseph, and Officer Shon Sheffield.
An internal investigation found the four officers, and one sergeant, involved in Easter’s arrest, knew he had ingested cocaine but failed to get him proper medical care.
On January 23 police say they observed a suspected drug transaction involving Easter. Police conducted a traffic stop on Easter’s black SUV. Easter was found to be in possession of cocaine and marijuana.
Easter ate some of the alleged cocaine to avoid officer detection.
Easter was taken into custody for drug and traffic charges and then transported to a police precinct. Preliminary information indicates that during this process, Easter began experiencing a medical emergency and lost consciousness. Officers began administering medical aid and requested medic.
Easter was transported by medic to a nearby hospital where he died.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Johnny Jennings said two policies were violated on the day of Easter’s arrest. Per police policy, officers are to call medic immediately if they believe a suspect has ingested any type of narcotic. Officers in Easter’s case did not call medic immediately.
The other policy officers violated was leaving Easter alone in an interrogation room unsupervised for an extended period of time. The policy at the time of the arrest stated suspects should not be left alone for more than 15 minutes.
Per Eater’s death, the policy has since been changed. Suspects now have to be supervised the entire time they are in police custody – either with video and audio surveillance or in person.